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Showing posts from February, 2015

TCK: Snippets Part 3

Here is my third round of snippets from The Caver's Kiss.  Enjoy!

     Predictions were worthless...


     Hilma squeezed Ally’s hands sadly.  “My little Alumina…light of my world…my second chance…what has come over you?” 


      “Are you insane?” I whispered fiercely.  Kana’s nimble form was far ahead of me, clambering over rocks.  “Aren’t you forbidden from this part of the caves?  Don’t the Dragos live here?”
      “Yes, but if we see one you can kill it,” she said.       Amos, the mighty Drago-slayer.  Somehow, in the retelling of the story, they forgot that the Drago impaled himself through no skill of mine.
     “So, do you think I am the son of prophecy?” I said, too weary to even grin at her.  My sense of humor seemed to have stormed out of the village with Ally and left me.      “I don’t know anything about a son of property,” she said, weighing her words with all the gravity of an 8-year-old.
     I didn’t sleep well that night.  My success with wrenching the backsto…

Introducing the Drago

Hi, there!  I am back, talking about The Caver's Kiss again.  Today, I thought I would introduce you to the creatures who play a great role in my story: Dragos.  In fact, without the Drago, a certain event that was the catalyst for my tale would never have happened.

     Dragos are quite large, ranging from 20 to 30 feet in length.  They live in caves and hunt in low light or dark conditions.  Dragos are fierce, deadly creatures that will hunt anything that moves, although they especially love the taste of the carbat (a small flying mammal that glows via bioluminescence).  They are quick of temper, easily irritated, and they hold grudges.
     While Dragos are fictional creatures, they are based on a real life creature: the frilled lizard...only much, much bigger and meaner.
     Below are several photos of the frilled lizard.  Imagine them in a cave setting, and imagine them to be about as long as your house is wide.  That should give you a pretty good idea of the Dragos of …

Whatever Your Hand Finds To Do

"Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." (Eccl. 9:10)
     Hi, I'm just popping in to encourage you to have your protagonist pursue his goals wholeheartedly. 

Does he want to be the hero? Let him fight for that right with all of his might. Let him attack his enemies head-on.

Does he want to avoid being the hero? Let him put everything he has toward getting away from that position. Let him run from it with determination.
      While it is possible to have your main character drift through life with no clear goals and caring about nothing, it is hard to have a dynamic book with such a character.  It is much easier if, regardless of personality or goals, your character pursues his goals as strongly as he can.



I had completely forgotten about Rachel Heffington's "wordplaywednesday" events until I saw Emily Putzke's post on her facebook page.
     Thanks, Emily!
     Her quote was awesome, by the way. 
    Anyway, because most of my writing has been edits this week, I didn't have a lot of new material to choose from.  But I picked this one:

#wordplaywednesday #inkpenauthoress "You will not harm him," Grayun warned, raising a hand as if to stop this spit-cat of an old woman.

The Cavers Kiss: Snippets Part 2

Here are some more snippets from The Caver's Kiss.  Enjoy!

     Hilma clinched her ancient fist.“You may make him welcome, but I will make him fly like a frightened bat.Then we will have both fulfilled our promises.”


     Instinctively, my eyes wandered from Kana as she sang and into the shadows at the outskirts of our light.Ally sat there, curled up with her heila.And, as I watched her, she looked up and her eyes met mine.
     Whether I believed the Wheston legend or not, there was something peculiar about our circumstance.


     His words smacked against Ally like a slap, and she wished she could slap him back.

     “You LIVE here,” Amos said in a fierce whisper.“I’ve never seen a cave to match the beauty of this one, and you get to see it every day.”

**      “I’m sorry, but that is the best one yet,” Amos laughed.“It’s right up there with the tribe that required young men to kill a wild boar and eat its heart.Or the one that required a young man to dance the kirawimba for 24…

Until something more fun comes along...

For the Chatterbox event, I am posting a what-if scene (what if Amos and Ally went to a little cafe).

“What does one do in a place like this?” Ally ran her hands over the smooth wooden chairs and flicked her eyes over a chalkboard sign that advertised the price of coffee and bagels.
Amos pulled out a chair and sat down at a booth.“Pass the time,” he said, leaning back and resting his arm over the back of the neighboring seat.
“Pass the time?That sounds impossible.To whence are you passing it?” Ally sat down across from Amos, trying to copy his manner as best she could.
Amos chuckled, his eyes crinkled up in amusement.He was laughing at her.“Beg your pardon,” he said, although he did not look the least bit sorry.“It’s a figure of speech.It simply means that we sit here for a while doing nothing until something more fun comes along.”
A man in a crisp white shirt interrupted them, setting two glasses of water on their table.“Would you like to order?”
“I’ll have coffee – half-cafĂ© with cream an…

TCK: Edits Begin

Technically, edits should begin with a rest period -- usually about 6 weeks of not-looking-at-your-manuscript.  This break is vital as it helps you to view your work with fresh eyes.
     However, for me, this break needs to come least for short stories.  So here is how I like to do things:
     1. Read through as soon as I can after I finish the first draft.  For me, there are things that I knew were wrong when I wrote them.  Ehk, that felt awkward.  Mmm, that will need to be explained better.  Ooops, that character needs to be introduced sooner.  Yikes, that sentence sounds so boring.  And so on.  These things are best addressed ASAP when I start editing, otherwise they weigh on my mind.  I like to print out a copy of my draft (in tiny print but with big margins), read through, and scribble notes in the margins.
     2. After scribbling notes in the margins, I feel like a weight is off my chest and I tuck my story away for a day or two.  I let my "to fix" …


     Rachel Heffington, at, has started something new.  It's called wordplaywednesday.  Here is the summary, from Rachel's blog:
"The idea of this project is that every Wednesday, you people and I will share one favorite/important/beautiful/profound quote from our last week's work."      You can head over to her blog to check out the rules for participation.  In the meantime, here is the piece I contributed (from The Caver's Kiss).

Twelve Days

Woohoo!  I am so excited!  Yesterday I finished my first draft of TCK!  I think this breaks a record for me for speed.
     This story is just under 12k words -- definitely falling in the short story category.  And I will have room to add or delete as needed during the editing phase.
     Speaking of editing, that is next!  I am going to run through a couple rounds of edits on my own and then find some readers who will give me feedback.  The story needs a little bit of work...
     ...but it is starting out better than my last short story.  It makes me happy to think that I improve on each story I write.
     Squeal!  Still excited!

P.S. Let me know if you are interested in reading this story and giving me feedback.  Thanks.

Why I Like Posting Snippets

Posting snippets of your story is a fun exercise.  Here is why:
#1.  It is sort of a reward for the work you put in.  After all, if you didn't write anything, you wouldn't have any snippets to post.

#2.  It's fun to see what gems you have created. 
     Some writing is ho-hum.  I look over my own work and see boring sentences such as "She walked outside."  Sometimes a boring sentence is necessary and fits very nicely into your paragraph, but it doesn't sound impressive in a snippets collection.
     However, as you read through your story, you find some unique sentences that can stand alone.  Then you put them in a snippets post and feel very proud of them.  For me, sometimes it's a confidence booster.  Hey, look, I do have some good pieces in here!

#3.  They are a way to share what you are writing without spoiling the story.
     Seriously, if you can guess my plot from the 6 snippets I posted last Friday, you are either a genius or you are cheating. 

Snippets from The Caver's Kiss

Greetings, all!  I thought I would share some snippets from The Caver's Kiss.  I hope you enjoy them!
     The opening was small and I shimmied through it, knowing that I faced a 40-foot drop once I was through.  "No worries," I said.  "If I am not back in town this evening, you can assume I was eaten by a fire-breathing dragon."


     Rivers was his name...Ed Rivers.  He said, if I liked caving, I might want to try out a little-known cave near Wheston.


     I couldn't help but pity the people who walked overhead every day with no idea of the stunning beauty beneath their feet.


     "Hang on!" I shouted, hoping whoever it was wouldn't panic or do anything stupid until I got there.


     In the distance, I heard several voices.  "Kana!" they seemed to be shouting.
     "Uh-oh."  The little girl hunched her shoulders.  "I'm in trouble."


     The man smirked, unalarmed by Ally's terror.  "An…


I'm rushing off to write some more in Caver's Kiss, but I wanted to pop in and make a brief observation about
Fullness  As writers, sometimes we find ourselves full to overflowing.  Ideas are coming thick and fast.  We are working hard at our craft.  Stories are shaping under our hands.  We are pleased with the work we are doing.
In times like these, it is easy to write blog posts.  There is always something you are eager to share -- something you've learned, some weakness you have conquered, a unique phrase that you just penned, a plot turn that has you breathless.  It is like your cup is so full that it flows down over the sides to share with others.

Such a state is vastly different from the occasional
Emptiness  Emptiness is when you haven't had time to write and you know you should have.  When all your stories are floundering.  When you have gone back to the drawing board, wondering if you are any good at writing, while deep under the surface your story is simmering…

Introducing The Caver's Kiss

So, last week, I was suddenly inspired with a new story. I was so excited about it that I used it in Sky and Cait's Beautiful People link-up. And, to my surprise, you guys spoke up and demanded to know more about it. Hurrah! I thought you'd never ask!

I'm not terribly good at the short version of here's the long version.

Rooglewood Press has been hosting annual fairy tale retellings and will do so for 3 more years. They won't give hints about which 3 fairy tales are left; so I was trying to guess the possibilities and then set my mind to whichever seemed the hardest.
And the hardest, for me (especially since my rewrites contain no magic), was Sleeping Beauty.
I'm sorry, but a girl who sleeps for an extended period of time (how does she eat? Have her muscles atrophied? Does she know how to read or speak?) and then gets kissed by a perfect stranger sounds terribly confusing to me.  
I was almost to the point of deciding that, if Rooglewood …

Beautiful People: The Caver's Kiss

Hello, all!  I am linking up with Sky's Beautiful People this month, and I am sharing from a story that I first thought this afternoon.  Here is goes:

How long have they been a couple?
A very short time

How did they first meet?
Her village owed him a debt of gratitude and invited him to stay overnight.

What were their first thoughts of each other? (Love at first sight or “you’re freakishly annoying”?)
Honestly, it was love at first sight for both of them, though neither one admitted it.  He thought she was beautiful but rather scoffed at the legend surrounding her.  She was impressed with his confidence (and size...hehe) but was rather put off by his mockery.

What do they do that most annoys each other?
She dislikes the way he views her village's traditions with a mixture of curiosity and amusement.
He dislikes the way she clings to her cloistered life.

Are their personalities opposite or similar?
Different in many ways

How would their lives be different without each other?

Robots Don't Have Heart

I have a strange achy feeling that makes me want to write.  I want to curl up in obscurity and type away on my keyboard, letting story after story roll forth.
     Writing is a strange mix of "working" at something without "forcing" it.  The ideal of sitting down and reaming off perfect stories without pause...well, it hasn't happened in my world.  It's something I have to study, to work at, to rewrite, to scrap and start over, to try new techniques, and so on.  There is work involved in making a good story.
     But, at the same time, you can't force a good story.  There has to be an element of relaxing and just letting it pour from your heart.  After all, it is "heart" that really grabs a reader.  I don't mean mushy inspirationals; I mean the passion that is in you speaking to the passion that is in them.
     This is why robots don't write stories.  Why couldn't we just enter the formula for a good story into a computer pr…

Rooglewood contest winners!

Hello, everyone!  The Rooglewood contest winners have been announced.  You can see the stories and authors at Rooglewood Press Fairy Collections.  I was not on the winning list, as you can see, and I didn't recognize any close friends.  However, one of the stories I recognized from a comment a girl left on a that kind of counts as a story/author that I knew about ahead of time.
     I very much enjoyed entering this contest.  I feel like my writing skills grew tremendously, and I feel like I could do better next time, based on what I learned this time.  And those are the main reasons I enter a contest anyway.
      So congratulations to the winners...and maybe you'll be seeing my name in the winners' list next year!